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Gift-Giving Season is Upon Us: Top 10 Foodie Finds from Appalachia

Gift-giving is a special kind of art.

A thoughtful gift - whether material or experiential - can mean a lot to both the gifter and the receiver and can point to a special moment, inside joke, or just even bring joy. It’s a showcase of love, attention, and care.

For the food lover in your life, it’s the perfect time to gift them something new, something they may never splurge on, or something hard to find for their kitchen.

As a bonus, the following gifts have ties to Appalachia, so you can give a new treasure to a loved one and support local artisans simultaneously. Or, you might even enjoy one - or two - for yourself.

1. Peach Salsa from Blue Smoke Salsa - Who doesn’t enjoy chips and salsa? Blue Smoke Salsa, based out of Charleston, West Virginia, offers mild, medium, hot, triple-x hot, and peach. The all-natural salsa is kettle-cooked in small batches with special attention to quality ingredients. More information:

2. Mustard Relish from Uncle Bunk’s - This award-winning relish is a gourmet product based on an old-time Appalachian recipe and comes in both medium and hot versions. It joins the ranks of products like rustic pepper sauce, 14-day sweet pickles, and spice blends. More information:

3. Rosemary Honey from Thistledew Farms - Crafted from light wildflower honey and natural herbs and spices, the rosemary honey from Thistledew farms is the perfect complement for pork or chicken dishes to add some depth. More information:

4. Old-Fashioned Wilted Lettuce Salad Dressing from Appalachian Mountain Specialty Foods - Reminiscent of those family get-togethers in the country, this dressing is sweet and tart and is perfect on any garden, pasta, bean, cucumber, or other prepared salad. And, of course, it’s great on a traditional wilted lettuce salad. More information:

5. Sour Cream & Onion Chips from Mister Bee Potato Chips - Made in Parkersburg, West Virginia, Mister Bee Potato Chips come in nine varieties: original, barbeque, dip style, cheddar sour cream, honey barbeque, jalapeno dip style, salt and vinegar, potato stix, and my personal favorite: sour cream & onion. Try them all to see which is your favorite. More information:

6. Biscuit Mix from Teays Valley - If you want biscuits like grandma made, this biscuit mix is the closest you’ll find. Their slogan, “nobody has to know it came from a mix,” rings true when these tasty biscuits are presented. More information:

7. Original BBQ Sauce from Lem’s Meat Varnish - Created by a competition pit master, Lem’s Meat Varnish is made in small batches with fine ingredients and is used in barbecue competitions. The sauce is sweet with a bit of heat and goes well on just about anything. More information:

8. Hot Dog Chili from Custard Stand - For the perfect chili dog, top your wiener with hot dog chili from Custard Stand, which uses a secret blend of spices and 100% ground beef in a century-old family recipe.

9. Water Bottle from Blenko Glass Co. - The iconic 384 Water Bottle from Blenko is a beautiful centerpiece and vessel for any beverage on the dinner table. The bottle comes in a variety of colors and designs. More information:

10. Ramp Finishing Salt from J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works - Add a bit of onion flavor to your favorite dishes with this salt infused with Appalachia’s favorite wild leek: the ramp. More information:

11. The West Virginia Pepperoni Roll from Candace Nelson – (Shameless plug for this author’s book.) The West Virginia Pepperoni Roll tells the story of West Virginia’s unofficial state food. More information:

12. Hot Pepper Jelly from Bigg Riggs Farm - Paired with crackers and cream cheese, hot pepper jelly can be the ultimate crowd-pleaser. Try it for an appetizer or hors d’oeuvres. More information:

13. Pear Butter Jam and Glaze from Simple Products - Made from organically grown Bartlet pears in Ohio, this jam complements any breakfast. Once the pears are cooked and puréed, special spices are added to create a tasty condiment. More information:

14. Original Hickory Syrup from Falling Bark Farm - Based in the heart of Virginia, Falling Bark Farm makes a unique syrup from the bark of the shagbark hickory tree. It creates a smoky, sweet flavor that goes well on pancakes or waffles. More information:

Pick one, two, or a few to create a delicious taste of Appalachia that will surprise and delight any recipient. And, we won’t tell if a few caught your eye and you decide to treat yourself.

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